“I met him when I was working at the Buckingham Palace party back in 2002,” recalled the singer. “McCartney came up with Heather Mills and I had a first edition of The Beatles by Hunter Davies and I said, ‘Hey Paul, do you mind signing this for me?’ And he said, ‘Oh Heather, our little Phil’s a bit of a Beatles fan.’ And I thought, ‘You f**k, you f**k.’ Never forgot it.”
“McCartney was one of my heroes,” added Collins, who has just announced tour plans for next June. “But he has this thing when he's talking to you, where he makes you feel [like], ‘I know this must be hard for you, because I'm a Beatle. I'm Paul McCartney and it must be very hard for you to actually be holding a conversation with me.’”
The “You Can’t Hurry Love” singer opened up about the incident while promoting his new autobiography, Not Dead Yet. The title is a nod to his almost-fatal battle with booze, which he details in the book, noting that it took him “until the age of 55 to become an alcoholic.”
At one point, Collins says he was drinking vodka from the bottle for breakfast, and he was once airlifted from Turks and Caicos to New York after downing too much alcohol while on vacation.
“I nearly died,” he shared in the Times interview. “My organs were kind of f**ked. It was spirits, corrosive stuff.”
The 65-year-old GRAMMY winner now drinks the occasional glass of wine, but avoids spirits in his bid to be a good dad to his two youngest sons, 15-year-old Nicholas and 11-year-old Matthew, from his third marriage to Orianne Cevey.
The couple divorced in 2008 amid a $46.76 million settlement, but have since reconciled and now live in a $33 million Miami mansion that was once owned by Jennifer Lopez.
However, Collins indicated that the pair, who are more than 20 years apart in age, lead somewhat separate lives.
“She goes out and does stuff with her girlfriends,” said the star, who has three other children, including actress daughter Lily, from previous marriages. “I can’t be doing all that. I said to her when we got back together, ‘You’ve got the older model now. I’m not going to go out and socialize, it doesn’t interest me.’ I don’t go to bed late -- 9.30, 10. She sometimes doesn’t come back till one or two in the morning.”
See Collins talk more about his wife in the video below.